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Sports Betting Advertisement Numbers Actually Decreasing

Sports Betting Advertisement Numbers Actually Decreasing

May 2, 2024

Sports Betting Advertisement Numbers Actually Decreasing

By: Jordan Briggs

Legal online sportsbetting, is still relatively new in America.[1] Over the last six years, as more states have legalized online sportsbetting, Americans have noticed more and more ads, leaving some feeling inundated with these ads.[2] But have Americans really seen more online sportsbetting ads, or have they only noticed more ads?

Today, the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) published a summary of its research finding that in 2023, for the second year in a row, “fewer television ads for sports betting [aired] than for other familiar products marketed to adults.”[3] Americans are actually seeing 33% less ads for sportsbetting than they saw in 2021 and 15% less than in 2022.

Additionally, according to the AGA, sportsbetting only accounted for 0.4% of total television ad volume. Viewers saw more ads for other adult-focused industries—alcohol, telecom/wireless, fast food, and pharmaceuticals—than they saw for sportsbetting. In fact, “[f]or every sports betting advertisement on TV in 2023, there were more than 3 telecom/wireless commercials, 8 TV spots for fast food, and 31 pharmaceutical commercials.”[4]

Therefore, American viewers saw fewer ads for sportsbetting than in previous years and viewers saw less ads for sportsbetting than for other products marketed to adults.

The AGA’s research directly disproves the common misconception that sportsbetting ads are “everywhere” or that viewers are being “bombarded with advertising”[5]—a misconception that is currently spurring new regulatory and legislative movements to further curtail sportbetting ads.[6] The ads that these movements would restrict are already strictly regulated, meeting state-specific requirements for age restrictions, inclusion of compulsive place messages and helplines, and other wording and visual requirements. However, these movements do not target the content of sportsbetting ads. Instead, they have anecdotally identified and objected to a volume of ads that simply does not exist, as shown by the AGA’s research.

Further, because the ads these movements would target are already regulated, new regulations addressing volume would only restrict the legal sportsbetting operators. Prior to 2018, illegal offshore sportsbooks gained popularity online, and, according to the AGA’s research, most consumers who primarily use offshore sportsbooks still do not know that these sites are unregulated. The AGA found that legal sportsbetting can guide consumers away from illegal markets, raise state tax revenue, and help consumers avoid fraud.[7] But legal, regulated sportsbooks can only pose a viable alternative to illegal sites if they are able to advertise to eligible participants.

Additionally, the AGA predicts that ads will continue to decrease as the market matures. Sportsbetting is still a new industry in the United States, and information campaigns take time.

That Americans seem to be noticing more ads for sportsbetting can be taken as a sign that the ads are memorable. Even though the public seems to have the impression that they have seen a great number of sportsbetting ads, viewers are actually seeing less sportsbetting ads than they saw in 2021 and far fewer ads for sportsbooks than for other products.

[1] Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 584 U.S. 453, 138 S.Ct. 1461 (2018) (available at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-476_dbfi.pdf).

[2] Chris Van Buskirk, Are you and your kids overwhelmed by Mass. sports betting ads? You’re not alone, MassLive (March 16, 2023) (available at https://www.masslive.com/politics/2023/03/are-you-and-your-kids-overwhelmed-by-mass-sports-betting-ads-youre-not-alone.html) (hereinafter “Buskirk Article”). See also Joe Hernandez, Sports betting ads are everywhere. Some worry gamblers will pay a steep price, NPR (June 18, 2022) (available at https://www.npr.org/2022/06/18/1104952410/sports-betting-ads-sports-gambling).

[3] Sports Betting Advertising Trends: Number of sports betting advertisements fell for second year in 2023, American Gaming Ass’n (May 2, 2024) (available at https://www.americangaming.org/resources/2023-sports-betting-advertising-trends/).

[4] Ads for sportsbetting accounted for 0.4% of television advertising volume, while ads for fast food accounted for 3.8%, and ads for pharmaceuticals accounted for 14.1%.

[5] Pat Moore, Statements from the Massachusetts Attorney General Office, MGC Open Meeting, 4:19 (March 9, 2023) (available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6TJTu2jfiE&t=281s)

[6] See also Buskirk Article.

[7] Five Years Post-PASPA: Consumer Sports Betting Trends, American Gaming Ass’n (May 9, 2023) (available at https://www.americangaming.org/resources/five-years-post-paspa-consumer-sports-betting-trends/).

Jordan Briggs

Jordan Briggs

Jordan Briggs’ experience in government, in-house, and in private practice at one of the country’s most renowned global law firms informs her multi-dimensional approach to risk management and compliance across a broad range of sectors and issues.

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